The Generator as a Paradigm for Systemic Design

Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation


In addressing systemic contexts, designers must address what Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber called wicked problems. The incomplete and changeable criteria of a wicked problem are such that any proposed resolution may be quickly superseded. One strategy for coping with this is to design systems that can adapt to the circumstances they find themselves in. One of the most challenging contexts in which to pursue such a strategy is architecture. This is most obviously because of the physical difficulty of making any changes, but also because those affected by the built environment often have little agency over it. One particularly notable attempt to achieve an adaptable architecture is the Generator, an unbuilt project designed by British architect Cedric Price during the late 1970s, with Julia and John Frazer acting as cybernetics consultants. In this paper, I explore this project as a possible paradigm for systemic responses to wicked problems in other contexts, especially in situations where consensus is either impractical or undesirable.
Period13 Oct 201915 Oct 2019
Event titleRelating Systems Thinking and Design 8: Systems change for governance
Event typeConference
LocationChicago, United States, IllinoisShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational